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Thursday, October 28, 2004

Unpurchased, pocketed, tempted, pilfered

Yesterday's coverage of the sale of the $64,000 ring that former MP Svend Robinson stole bothered me because of the light-hearted way the theft was referenced. The ring was presented--sometimes playing off of the Lord of the Rings--as a thing of power in itself. Either that, or the media used words like "pilfered" or "pocketed" or "unpurchased." The effect was to diminish Robinson's responsibility in the matter.

For the record, Robinson stole the ring, an item that is worth about two-year's salary to me... before tax. Subsequent media stories presented a strong case that the action was premeditated and that his tearful public confession and the reasons he gave for the theft were entirely false. The court was mind-bendingly lenient because of his high profile and now, in order to maintain our faith in the courts and excuse our low standards for public service, we must follow suit and convince ourselves that what he did really wasn't all that bad.

From CanWest: "The ring that killed Svend Robinson's political career goes on the auction block Sunday."

From the Vancouver Sun: "For sale: the ring that tempted Svend Robinson--The most sought-after ring since Gollum got his slimy fingers on his "precious" goes on the auction block...It's a round brilliant-cut diamond solitaire weighing more than two carats, set on 14-karat white gold, and it effectively ended the political career of MP Svend Robinson in April when it wound up, unpurchased, in his pocket during an auction viewing."

From the Vancouver Province: "Svend's ring goes up for auction--The diamond ring pilfered by former MP Svend Robinson goes up for auction on Halloween..."

Montreal Gazette: "The auction house that had the $64,000 ring that former MP Svend Robinson pleaded guilty to pocketing is putting the ring up for auction this weekend."

Canada's embarrassing justice system and the favoritism it shows towards its elites got a little international exposure through James Allan Garrick in New Zealand's National Business Review: Letter from Canada: A tale of two sinners, comparing Svend Robinson and Martha Stewart. To be fair to Stewart, it should be noted that Robinson stole more.

We are becoming a nation that must constantly lie to itself.

Posted by Kevin Steel on October 28, 2004 in Media | Permalink


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It's like they're blaming the ring for being stolen! "I couldn't help myself! That little six year old girl seduced me!!"

The answer is glaringly obvious: working in the Canadian media pays fairly well, has a petina of glamour and power, and is way easier than working in a coal mine. So these guys do NOT want to do anything to risk their cushy jobs. They get to pretend they're Speakingtruthtopower(tm) while hobnobbing with minor celebs and feeling special, all while getting an ok salary.

It is an open secret that most of them want to get gov't jobs some day. They are shallow careerists and why we bother getting our "news" from them is a mystery.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-10-28 12:28:29 PM

"...an item that is worth about two-year's salary to me... before tax."

Dear God! That's all WS pays a man of your talent? I shall not be renewing my subscription until word gets around that they're paying you something more respectful of your worth to them.

(Yes, this pisses me off. Talent SHOULD be rewarded.)

Posted by: Sean | 2004-10-28 12:40:25 PM

Re: "Dear God! That's all WS pays a man of your talent?"

You don't know? I thought everybody knew. Ezra doesn't actually pay us in cash, but with remaindered copies of his books which we then have to turn around and sell to put bread on the table. Terry O'Neill prefers mail order. Kevin Libin reports good success using his children selling door-to-door in Calgary (much better than in Toronto which I'm told is part of the reason he moved). I myself set up on a blanket on various street corners barking "Fight Kyoto!" though bylaw enforcement officers tend to be a bit of a hassle.


Posted by: Kevin Steel | 2004-10-28 2:22:25 PM

Actually, if you had bothered to look at average sentences for similar cases you will see that the Court was in no way "Mind Bendingly Lenient" because of who he was.

The sentence was totally in line with the usual practice.

You can argue that sentences in Canada are too light, but you can't argue that Robinson received a more favourable sentence than anyone else would have.

Posted by: bob | 2004-10-28 4:42:24 PM

But Steven Truscott is still "guilty". Yep.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-10-29 7:09:35 AM

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